Before starting your business, it helps to have a clear idea of what you need to do. Key questions you will need to ask include:
Do you need to register your business? If yes, what business structure?
Where will your business be located?
What will your business name be?
GoBusiness Start-up Guide will walk you through the questions above and more.
If you’re starting a business in Singapore, the first question to consider is whether you need to register it.
Anybody who intends to carry out any activity for profit on an ongoing basis must register a business with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), unless you meet the following criteria for exemption:
- You use your full name, as per your NRIC, as your business name
- You and your partner(s) use your full names, as per your NRIC, as your business name
Do note that if you add descriptive words to your name (eg: Flowers by Tan Mei Ling), you must register the business. There are other exemptions from registration and the full list can be found in the Business Names Registration Act.
Benefits of registering a business
There are several benefits of registering a business with ACRA. Here are some of them:
- Legitimacy: The public can easily verify information about your business and its owners. It also makes it easier for customers to identify, find and transact with your business.
- Access: Your business gets access to Government funding, such as Enterprise Singapore grants. You also get to participate in government tenders and secure intellectual property or patents for new products and technology.
In addition, if you incorporate a company or set up a limited liability partnership, you enjoy:
- Limited liability: Your personal and business finances are kept separate. This means that in the event that your business is sued, your personal liabilities are limited and you do not risk losing your personal assets.
Limited liability does not apply to a sole proprietorship or partnership.
Carrying out a small-scale business from home
If you are thinking of starting a small-scale business from home, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you.
Do note that Housing Development Board (HDB) flats and private residential properties are intended for residential use, and there are conditions and guidelines that need to be followed. Most importantly, the property must still be used for residential purposes and the business activity must be kept at a small scale to avoid causing disamenities to your neighbours.
Step 1: Determine your home business scheme
Find out which scheme best suits your intended business activity.
Step 2: Understand scheme's provisions and guidelines
Understand more about each scheme's requirements.
Step 3: Find out industry-specific guidelines
Read up on the regulations that are specific to your business sector or industry.
Step 4: Learn about taxes and government assistance
Learn the regulations involved and support schemes available for running a home-based business.
Step 5: Take your business further
Expanding your home-based business? Learn the next steps involved in taking your business further.
Key steps to start
Now that you know whether to register the business, here are 6 key steps to guide you:
Step 1: Choose a Business Structure
Learn about the different business structures and find out which one best suits your business.
Step 2: Choose a Business Address
Register an address where you carry out your business.
Step 3: Reserve Your Business Name
Decide on your business name, then check if there are similar business names, and if it's available as a domain name or social media username.
Step 4: Register Your Business
Learn more about what you need to register your business, depending on the business structure you've chosen at Step 1.
Step 5: Register a Corppass Administrator
Use your Corppass Administrator account to manage your business' digital transactions with the Government.
Step 6: Open a Corporate Bank Account
Understand the benefits and requirements of opening a corporate bank account.
After you’ve taken these steps, find out what you can do next to continue running and growing your business with these next steps.
Setup cost calculator
Get an estimate of how much it costs to start and run a business in Singapore with our Setup Cost Calculator.